In 2003 we started photographing North Dakota ghost towns and abandoned places, first as a hobby and then, as a fascinating learning exercise. We learned about the Homestead Act that had settlers moving to the upper Midwest en masse, the railroads that built towns every eight miles along the tracks so the locomotives could refill their steam engines, and the population and development boom that sometimes followed.Continue reading “Ghosts of North Dakota Photos to Enter Public Domain”
The Other Oldest Standing Structure in North Dakota
We’ve previously posted about Gingras Trading Post, which holds a share of the claim to “the oldest standing structure in North Dakota,” dating back to the days of the fur trade, before the homesteading era brought European settlers en masse.
That place, Gingras Trading Post, is reportedly the oldest standing structure in the state *still on its original foundation. This place, Kittson Trading Post, is reportedly older by a smidge, but it was moved to this location in Walhalla at a later date. The inscription on the monument tells the rest of the story.Continue reading “The Other Oldest Standing Structure in North Dakota”
8 More Lost North Dakota Places
When we started this project in 2003, there were plenty of places where we arrived too late; we showed up to discover there wasn’t much left to see in many cases. Now, years later, we’ve been sad to see many of the places where there were things to see… vanish just the same.
If you didn’t see these places already, a visit now would reveal that you’ve arrived too late. Here are 8 more lost North Dakota places.Continue reading “8 More Lost North Dakota Places”
Thank You for 15 Great Years
Fall of 2018 officially marks 15 years since we began documenting North Dakota’s ghost towns and abandoned places. I’ve previously written about how we got started (by accident). We photographed our first three places in 2003 and started the website in early 2004, and in that time we’ve driven more than 65,000 miles and traveled through every county in North Dakota in search of abandoned and vanishing places. We’ve photographed true ghost towns with zero residents and vanishing small towns with a handful of residents remaining — places like Merricourt, Corinth, and Haley among many others. We’ve photographed abandoned places of interest including San Haven Sanatorium, Fortuna Air Force Station, and the Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel to name a few. As we’ve photographed these places, we’ve learned a lot about North Dakota and its history and we’ve tried to share as much of that with you as best we know how. Our photography has gotten a little better over the years and my ability to put it into words has grown too. And we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.Continue reading “Thank You for 15 Great Years”
A Second Immanuel Lutheran Church
As we ventured toward Minot for a book signing event in 2014, we decided we would try to sneak in some shooting time at a few different locations along the drive, but this particular place was not a place we knew about beforehand — we just happened to drive right by it, on highway 30 in Albert Township, just north of Maddock, North Dakota and couldn’t pass up such a picturesque church. The best places are always the places we discover by accident.Continue reading “A Second Immanuel Lutheran Church”
5 More Lost North Dakota Places
The end always comes. As we’ve documented here, here, and here, our historic places are frequently losing the battle with time and the elements. The places shown here, two churches, a school, an Air Force installation, and a Nordic ski jump, were all photographed in the last decade or so, and now — in the blink of an eye really — they are gone. This is why we shoot ’em… because too many of them share this fate. Here are five more lost North Dakota places.Continue reading “5 More Lost North Dakota Places”
Roadtrip: Ghosts Towns and Vanishing Places along State Highway 200
North Dakota’s longest State Highway is Highway 200, and it stretches over 400 miles from the Red River near Halstad, Minnesota to the Montana border at Fairview. As we’ve been exploring North Dakota’s vanishing places since 2003, it’s a highway we’ve found ourselves on again and again, and we’re due to show appreciation for a road that will take you to so many amazing places.Continue reading “Roadtrip: Ghosts Towns and Vanishing Places along State Highway 200”
The Why and How of Cathay, North Dakota
Near the center of the state, in Wells County, about fifteen miles northwest of Carrington, Cathay stands as a great example of a shrinking North Dakota railroad community in the heart of farming country. It was founded in 1892 and the first post office went up the following year, to serve the Soo Line railroad. At one time, there were 255 residents here, but in the 2000 Census, the number was 56. Ten years later, the 2010 tally was 43.Continue reading “The Why and How of Cathay, North Dakota”
Saved from the Deluge: Independence Congregational Church
On several occasions we’ve made an effort to document the abandonment of civilizations along the Missouri River in 1953 due to a coming flood created by the Garrison Dam project — the story of Sanish, North Dakota, the construction of Four Bears Bridge, a visit to an Elbowoods Church, and a lost highway to the bottom of a lake, for example — and the story of Independence is another of those.
Independence, North Dakota stood along the west bank of the Missouri River. Douglas A. Wick’s “North Dakota Place Names” says it was founded in 1885 by Wolf Chief of the Gros Ventres, and named “Independence” to signify independence from the other tribes at Fort Berthold.
Continue reading “Saved from the Deluge: Independence Congregational Church”
Return to Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel
Fairview Lift Bridge is a place we’ve visited before, but the last time we were there, the sky was full of smoke from wildfires, so we promised ourselves we would go back again when we got another chance, and that chance came in July, 2017. We had just learned that the adjoining Cartwright Tunnel, the only railroad tunnel in the state of North Dakota, was in danger of implosion if funding couldn’t be raised for a restoration, so that became another excuse to visit this rusty beauty spanning the Yellowstone River.Continue reading “Return to Fairview Lift Bridge and Cartwright Tunnel”